This last week has been one of the most terrifying, confusing, heart wrenching times of my life in regards to my faith (I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). But I want you to know, now, after it all, that I feel stronger and more passionate about this gospel than I ever have before. I will give you the “short version” but I feel extremely prompted to share my story. It started with someone I deeply admire leaving the church, which led me to discover material regarding serious doubts, intense church history and “factual” reasons to disprove the gospel. I spent hours weeping, fearing that everything I had ever believed was false, questioning if I even HAVE a Father in Heaven that I could even cry out to (yes, I was this afraid). I woke up the next morning, wishing it was just a terrible dream, and it wasn’t. Though, it was then that I realized I had two choices. I could either continue to fall deeper into despair and seek out reasons to believe the gospel was untrue OR I could gather my testimony, journal entries, opinions of others, and so on to solidify my previous faith. I wasn’t ready to go down without a fight. I prayed. I read. I called some of the most spiritual people I know. I thought of some of the most spiritual people I know. And it was while I was out walking the dog that I had an overwhelming calming warmth spread throughout my body. So strong that a smile quite literally grew on my face, the kind that hurts your cheeks type of thing. And it wasn’t something crazy. Something simple, that spoke to me soft and quiet. All I could think was, “The gospel is true.”
During this whole process I came to a conclusion. Either this gospel is true or it’s not. I believe it is. But here’s the thing; Even if it wasn’t or isn’t, I choose to stay. Some might think that is crazy or stupid. The way I see it though is if God exists, this is his church. If God didn’t exist, then I would continue doing exactly what I am doing. Why? Because when lived fully and earnestly, it will make me the best person I can be. Loving, caring, serving, hoping. I would much rather believe in something than believe in nothing. I don’t care what mistakes were made by members in LDS history anymore. They are only human. And of course it’s going to look bad when you compile every poor choice they made into a single document. I sure would hate if someone did that to me, you would probably hate me too! If the disciples who were constantly around Christ couldn’t manage to be even close to perfect (falling asleep when asked to wait while Christ atoned, betraying him, etc) and we haven’t even been in Christ’s presence, why would we expect ourselves or any others to be much better? And I have begun to have a hard time believing in “facts” because facts seem to always change. The earth was flat, Pangea never existed. Faith in religion is rarely factual, but that’s exactly the purpose of faith. Because when I look at the human body, the beautiful earth, the stars and planets above, I refuse to believe it’s just there- no plan, no creator. Which is a huge reason I love Alma 30:44.
“But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.”
Hard times will come when you believe in something. But when I realized that being a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will do nothing but persuade me to do good continually, it gives me such comfort. Comfort that no “evidence” can take away. I testify to you that I do believe in God. I believe that there is a plan. I believe that charity is necessary for us to succeed in this gospel. I believe that Joseph Smith did translate the Book of Mormon. I believe that mistakes are inevitable and help remind us of Christ’s glory. I believe that trials are inevitable. I believe that the gospel is as simple as it’s taught in primary, we tend to complicate too much as we grow older. I believe that Jesus Christ lived and that he lives. He is my Savior and my peace. I testify of these things to you all.